A recent study showed alarming facts: hospitals are not great at diagnosing their patients. 1 in 20 patients are misdiagnosed each year; this means 12 million Americans are being sent home with the wrong diagnosis. Sometimes, misdiagnosis leads to death. The number of deaths by misdiagnosis is equal to the number of deaths by breast cancer, which is alarming.
With misdiagnosis more common than drug errors there is no wonder doctors are not the highest paid individuals in a hospital. This status belongs to hospital administrators, who can actually do a lot to prevent misdiagnosis.
Encourage patient-doctor communication
Lack of proper communication is usually at the core of misdiagnosis. In most cases the patient or the medical staff is too shamed to ask questions or report a mistake. Between a patient and the staff poor communication occurs when one of the parts is uncomfortable speaking up. As a hospital administrator you can encourage communication and make sure the staff and the patients are comfortable. Another common cause of misdiagnosis is the staff’s fear of asking questions and questioning their peers. This is what lead to a tragic poisoning case, which resulted with the death of a 16 year old. The nurse who was caring for the girl saw there is something wrong with the drugs given to the patient, but didn’t said anything because she was new.
The evaluations of the staff and the patients are a great opportunity to prevent misdiagnosis. Show that your high hospital administration salary is not the only thing which pushed you by conducting frequent evaluations, which can show the staff how to care better for their patients. Encourage the medical staff to make themselves heard, regardless how critical their opinions might be. As for patient evaluations, try to get from them a constructive feedback. For example, ask the patient how could the doctor visit can be improved.
Train your doctors to be better listeners
Doctors work with humans, so they need to have great people skills. The only exception comes from surgeons, who can be allowed to be less talkative from time to time. Doctors need to build their listening and social skills in order to communicate better with their patients. As a hospital administrator, you can help them, by providing them with training programs and advise.
Encourage patients to be more aware of their own health history
Nowadays, electronic health records allow the patient to check his or her medical records. This helps the patient know their own health, but it can also help the doctor, if the patient talks about his medical history with him. Encourage the patients to discuss their medical records with the doctors at every hospital visit.
Implement the latest technologies
Technological advancements are now a great aid for doctors, as they allow them to conduct complex tests on the patient. To make sure your doctors have the latest technologies on their hands, aim to update the machines in the hospital at least once every couple of years. Also, make sure the staff knows how to use them to avoid both misdiagnosis and malpractice.